I found this article while surfing around today for something else. And I found it pretty interesting.
I don't think we have an Anthropologie yet in Milwaukee (though things seem to be cropping up here every day). But, I've been meandered in the store in Seattle, and I believe there was also one in Iowa City (or another place where I lived once... apparently age has destroyed a few of my brain cells that control vivid memory).
I totally agree that Anthropologie is an experience more than anything. And it's one of the few places that seems to do a pretty fine job of marketing itself to me (despite the fact that I'm probably on the lowest end of their income scale). So very UNlike the Abercrombie & Fitches of the the world, which actually SCARE me more than anything.
If you ask me, more businesses really need to start taking cues from the likes of them (and Starbucks, for that matter). This is the sort of creative energy that I see taking retail into the future.